diet-695723_1920It’s likely that you had some pretty lofty goals when you implemented your workplace wellness strategy: healthier, happier employees; increased productivity; significant cost savings. And all of those intentions, and more, can become a reality. However, there are some very common mistakes that derail companies’ wellness programs before they even make it out of the station.

Unfortunately many businesses see a big decline in engagement after the initial launch. Morale goes back to what it was before the program was in place. Money spent on incentives and promotion fail to yield returns.

Here are five of the main reasons most wellness programs fail, as well as tips to help you avoid these common pitfalls.

  1. Games may have played themselves out. Many companies used “games” to try to drive engagement in wellness programs. But once people got past the initial excitement of the challenges, there doesn’t seem to be much interest. What’s better is a continuously changing mix of competitions and a little friendly rivalry. Keep mixing things up, and they’re more likely to stay involved.
  2. Incentives are over-emphasized. While incentives aren’t necessarily a bad thing, many employees merely do the minimum to get their prize or discount and then drop out. Instead of the main focus, incentives should be a minor side “perk” associated with the real reward: a healthier lifestyle.
  3. The healthy keep getting healthier. Despite attempts to tailor programs to each individual, many tend to focus on the exact same metrics for everyone (e.g. steps, BMI, etc.). This makes it easy for the already-healthy to excel and harder for the average person to get up to speed. A better approach is to use varying metrics to appeal to a wider employee pool.
  4. Doing the bare minimum doesn’t yield maximum results. If your wellness program consists of nothing more than an annual screening or self-assessment tool, then don’t expect to see a huge improvement in your employees’ health and wellbeing. Education and awareness are great, but they go a lot farther when coupled with engaging activities like challenges and competitions. Reassess after a year to track your results!
  5. Don’t do anything for the wrong reasons! If you’re only focused on measurable outcomes and return on investment, especially in the first fe years of a program, you may miss the whole point of having a wellness program at all. Sustained progress takes time and strategic planning. Instead, focus on seeing employees engaged in trying to improve their health. Think Value on Investment instead of (ROI) and look at factors like reduced sick days taken, happier employees, improved morale, and a better work/life balance.

Implementing a workplace wellness program is great. Getting these 5 things wrong can cause irreparable damage that may end up causing the whole initiative to tank. Get them right and, with time and patience, you’re much more likely to see the effects on your bottom line.

Want more information on this topic? Check out this article on TLNT or contact Sequoyah Group today!